Real State

Where Should You Raise Your Children?


Raising children in the best possible environment is a solid reason to relocate. But today’s tough real estate market has slowed migration. In 2023, about 26 million people moved, way down from nearly 43 million in 2019, according to the Census Bureau. All the more reason for parents to carefully consider local resources, support systems, living costs and other attributes when researching a new city.

A recent study by WalletHub ranked 180 U.S. cities according to family friendliness, using 45 metrics spread across five categories. One was “health and safety,” which parsed data on air and water quality, access to quality food and health care, and crime and traffic risks. “Education and child care” considered public-school quality, day care costs and parental leave policies. “Affordability” calculated the cost of living relative to income, savings rates, credit scores and other measures of financial fitness. “Socioeconomics” covered job opportunities, rates of divorce, poverty, unemployment and foreclosures. Finally, “family fun” accounted for parks and other attractions, weather and the share of families with young children.

Fremont, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay Area, topped the list, helped by its top scores in the education, child care and socioeconomics categories. Its high cost of living was balanced by a high median income. At the bottom was Memphis, which scored low in socioeconomics and health and safety. One thing was clear in the results: the effects of income inequality. Cities at the top of the list had high median incomes and mostly white or Asian populations, while those at the bottom had low median incomes and mostly Black or Hispanic populations.

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